ASTRA Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health

May 27 2015

On May 28, women’s rights defenders and activists from all over the world are mobilizing to observe May 28th International Day of Action for Women’s Health.  Various activities from more than thirty countries have been reported by women’s advocacy groups to be taking place to commemorate the Global Day of Action.

Collectively, activists will call on the governments and the international community for the fullest inclusion of women’s  sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and  respect, protect, and fulfill  women’s right to health, dignity and bodily integrity.

May 28 Campaign was first established in 1987 by women’s rights activists at the IV International Women’s Health Meeting in Costa Rica, as a means to speak out on SRHR issues faced by women and girls all over the world..

This year’s campaign highlights the often forgotten link between SRHR and Institutional Violence, a form of violence against women perpetuated by the State, particularly experienced by women and girls if they are young, unmarried, poor, HIV affected, of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities, living with a disability, or in other vulnerable situations. The campaign focuses on 4 grave cases of Institutional violence: The denial of access to safe and legal abortion services; Forced and coerced sterilizations; Obstetric Violence and the denial of access to contraceptives and emergency contraception. All of these are issues commonly neglected and often normalized and endorsed by States.

Currently governments around the world are involved in the process of formulating the next development agenda in which they must address these human rights violations and uphold their existing commitments, by ensuring a comprehensive and rights-based approach to women’s health, and accounting for the full spectrum of women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health issues, needs, and rights.

For more details about the May 28 campaign, local actions in your region and to endorse the Call for Action, visit

May 21 2015

ASTRA Network invites to a Public Hearing on

“Barriers in access to reproductive health goods and services"

under the auspices of the European Parliament Working Group on Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS and Development and hosted by EPWG Co-Chairs: MEP Sophie in 't Veld and MEP Heidi Hautala

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

12:00 sandwich lunch

12.30 - 14.30 event

Meeting room ASP 1E1, Altiero Spinelli Building

European Parliament, Brussels



Opening speech by MEP Sophie in 't Veld

Marta Szostak, ASTRA Network Secretariat

Adriana Lamackova, Center for Reproductive Rights

Milena Kadieva, Gender Alternatives Foundation

Irina Costache, A.L.E.G.

Nataša Bijelić, CESI - Centar za edukaciju, savjetovanje i istraživanje

Neil Datta, The European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development

Closing remarks by MEP Heidi Hautala


  Access the event flyer in pdf

Facebook event


May 18 2015


Misoprostol for treating PPH included in the Model List of Essential Medicines

The World Health Organization has just released the Report of the 20th WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines. The Report recommends that misoprostol be included in the Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) for the additional indication of treating post-partum haemorrhage (in addition to preventing PPH) when oxytocin is not available or cannot be used safely. This means that health care providers who are not qualified to give oxytocin injections or where oxytocin is not availble, e.g. in community-based facilities can now provide misoprostol to treat as well as to prevent post-partum haemorrhage.

The Report states: "Two applications related to misoprostol were considered by the Expert Committee. The Committee recommended listing misoprostol for the additional indication of post-partum hemorrage, when oxytocin is not available or cannot be used safely, but it did not recommend deletion of misoprostol for the post-partum hemorrage prevention indication. The Committee noted that no new clinical trial data to support deletion has been presented compared to the same application in 2013."

The Committee also recommended the addition of three new contraceptive products to the EML: the etonogestrel-releasing implant, the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system and the progesterone contraceptive vaginal ring.


Report of the 20th WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines, May 2015:

All applications and documents reviewed by the Expert Committee:

2015 WHO Model List of Essential Medicines

May 14 2015

EU governments met to coordinate for the post-2015 negotiation session (as well as the Council Conclusions on the “Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015”, which are also to include a section on accountability) from 18 to 22 May. European civil society came together to address this important meeting. The joint ASTRA, EuroNGOs, Countdown 2015 and IPPF EN position paper is available HERE.

May 11 2015

In Bulgaria, according to statistics[1], the birth rate among girls aged 15-19 is 41 births in 1000 women in reproductive age, compared to other European countries like Germany - 8 births per 1,000, France - 10.7 and Spain 9.1[2]. There is also a stable tendency for age decline, as in the end of 2013 the number of girls aged 11/12-14 who have become mothers was 298 (out of 860 for the age bracket 12-18 years[3]). These facts place Bulgaria on the first place in Europe in pregnancies among girls aged 12-18. Our country is also a leader in abortions among minors[4] which means that abortion has been regarded as a method of contraception.


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